RICHLAND, Wash. – EM Office of River Protection (ORP) crews at the Hanford Site are preparing to install another asphalt surface barrier to divert water runoff to protect groundwater from contaminants.
The asphalt barrier at the U Tank Farm, one of the groupings of large underground waste-storage tanks on the Hanford Site, will divert rain and snowmelt into a nearby basin to hold the runoff while it evaporates. U Farm will be the fifth tank farm to have a surface barrier installed.
“These barriers are a critical part of the strategy to help protect groundwater at the Hanford Site,” said Becky Blackwell, ORP program manager. “The barriers help prevent rain and snowmelt from potentially mobilizing existing contaminants in the soil toward the water table deep below the surface.”
WRPS will award a subcontract for construction of the barrier within the next few months. Earlier this year, workers with tank operations contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) and subcontractor Elite Construction and Development built and filled the lined basin with soil. Crews recently spread more than 60 pounds of native plant seed over the top of the basin, which is a little more than an acre in size. The plants and soil will encourage the natural evaporation of water.
“Waiting to put down seed until the weather starts to cool is a lesson learned from previous basin projects,” said Tom Sackett, WRPS Tank Farms Projects manager. “This seed will begin to germinate in the spring as the weather warms, which is more consistent with natural seeding.”
The U Farm consists of 16 underground, single-shell waste-storage tanks with a combined capacity of approximately 8.7 million gallons. The protective barrier at U Farm will be the latest interim barrier installed on the site.
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